Back in August 1999, Scottish league Champions Rangers took on Italian giants Parma. The victors would go on and play in the golden playground known as the Champions League, Europe’s rich and most prestigious competition.
Fast-forward to the present day and things couldn’t be more different for these illustrious clubs.
Rangers are currently residing in Scotland’s second tier and were liquidated back in 2012. Ever since, we’ve seen the club in turmoil as board members come and go and leaving destruction in their path. Many fear another financial crisis is just around the corner for the Ibrox club.
According to Italian reports, Parma have been ‘dissolved’ after it turned out they had ran out of money. Their fixture against Udinese was postponed last weekend and now it’s being suggested that other Italian sides are helping ‘I Crociati’ out, so they can fulfil the rest of their Serie A fixtures this season.
The two clubs have a rich history but now share a bond that no side would want, financial mismanagement.
How different it was back on that warm August evening when Rangers beat Parma 2-0 at Ibrox. Lets look at the two sides that played that day (I was in attendance that day).
Stefan Klos: The German goalkeeper arrived in Glasgow arrived in 1998. He had won the Champions League with Borussia Dortmund in 1997. Known as the ‘Der Goalie’ during his career in Govan, the keeper was a superb shot stopper and would stay in Glasgow for the remainder of his career. He spent eight and half years at the club and won four league titles, three Scottish Cups and two League Cups. Retired in 2009, has since been inducted into the Rangers ‘Hall of Fame’ and now resides in Switzerland.
Sergio Porrini: The Italian right-back had already had a decent Champions League career with Juventus before he arrived at Ibrox. Was a nonsense defender that had received two caps for Italy during the early nineties. Is currently managing Serie D side Ponisola in Northern Italy.
Craig Moore: The Australian centre-back came to Rangers as an inconsistent youth during nine in a row period but would develop into a solid performer that would keep Colin Hendry out of the Gers team. Would spend two years at Newcastle United and played over fifty times for Australia. He would represent the Socceroos at the FIFA World Cup in 2006, scoring a penalty against Croatia. In 2008, the Aussie defender would be diagnosed with testicular cancer but he would soon return to football. He would retire in 2010. He is now the boss of Gold Coast Premier League side Coomera Colts.
Lorenzo Amoruso: The Italian was the first Roman Catholic captain at Rangers. His defensive displays could be inspirational but his lapses in concentration could also cause heart attacks for Gers fans. Not bad at hitting a mean free-kick either. His reputation before Rangers was made when he man marked Ronaldo out of a game for Fiorentina. Ws sold to Blackburn for a paltry £1.4m but he left with plenty of winners medals in his pocket. He would retire and return to Florence to help run a restaurant.
Tony Vidmar: Another Aussie at the back for this Gers side. He would score against Parma and was dependable at right or left back. Like Moore, Vidmar was a regular for the Socceroos (he won 76 caps) but unfortunately had to retire on the eve of the 2006 World Cup after it was discovered he had an irregular heart beat. After Rangers, he played for Middlesbrough in the EPL and then returned to Dutch outfit NAC Breda. Currently coaching the Aussie U17 side.
Barry Ferguson: Was a youngster with plenty of promise by the time Parma took on Rangers. Dino Baggio gave him special praise after the match. The Scots midfielder would go on to captain the Scottish giants and played for them twice during his career. He would also take on the armband for Scotland. He’d move to Birmingham and help them to a League Cup win too. Has now hung up his boots and manages Clyde in Scotland’s bottom tier.
Giovanni van Bronckhorst: Joined Rangers from Feyenoord as an exciting left sided midfielder. He would leave the Gers in 2001, signing on at Arsenal for £8m before moving on to Barcelona. The Dutchman would then revert to playing at left-back and win the two La Liga titles and a Champions League trophy too. His final ever footballing appearance came as he captained the Netherlands in the 2010 World Cup Final, eventually losing to Spain. Now assistant boss at first club Feyenoord.
Claudio Reyna: The American scored the second of the night against Parma. Came to Europe when he signed for Bayer Leverkusen in the mid-nineties. He was a versatile midfield man who could play in most right-sided positions. Would leave Rangers in 2001 and had spells in the English Premier League with Sunderland and Man City. He would also become the US captain winning 111 caps. Reyna would retire after a spell back in MLS with New York Redbulls. Claudio is now director of football operations with new club New York City FC. He also has a son named Giovanni after Gers teammate Van Bronckhorst.
Michael Mols: Started his Rangers career with a bang in 1999, until a horrific knee injury which he never fully recovered from. Would leave Glasgow in 2004, scoring thirty-eight goals in ninety-eight league games. Retired after a brief spell with Feyenoord. There was talk of Mols starting a travel agency with former Gers teammates Arthur Numan and Bert Konterman.
Rod Wallace: Rod was a surprise signing in Dick Advocaat’s first summer in charge at Ibrox but he became an instant hit with his goals and tenacious play. The English man started his career at Southampton with brothers Ray and Danny. He would then win the top league in England with Leeds Utd before winning everything in Scotland during his three year spell at Ibrox. He would then sign up for Big Sam at Bolton and then retired after a spell with Gillingham. Was hired as reserve team coach at Epsom & Ewell FC in 2011.
Neil McCann: The left winger had a terrific start to his Rangers career in 1998, helping them secure the league title that season. Like most in this side he won a bundle of medals with Rangers. Was sold off in 2003 to Southampton to help ease the already spiralling debts that had tightened around Rangers at that time. Came back to Scotland in 2006 to once again play for Hearts. Retired in 2011 after helping out first club Dundee. Now Sky Sports main Scottish league pundit and is also Dunfermline’s first team coach.
Gianluigi Buffon: The legendary goalkeeper is still playing and winning Serie A titles with Juventus. The keeper also won the UEFA Cup with Parma in 1999, months before the clash with Rangers. Joined Juve for £32.6m, which is still a record fee for a goalkeeper. His career with the Azzurri is remarkable; he has 145 caps, has had more Italian cleansheets than anyone else and won the 2006 World Cup with Italy.
Luigi Sartor: The Italian journeyman had spells with Juve, Inter, Vicenza, Roma, Genoa and Verona as well as Parma. The defender also won two caps with Italy. Sartor would end his career with Ternana in 2009. Luigi was later implicated in the Calcio Scommesse betting scandal and was banned from football in 2011 for five years!
Paolo Vanoli: The left-back scored in the UEFA Cup final that Parma won in 1999. He also amassed a lot of employers in Italy with spells at Fiorentina, Bologna and Verona to name but three. Vanoli would play twice for the Azzurri scoring in the process. Vanoli would also have a career at Ibrox, known for an OG against Dunfermline and a wonder strike against Dundee Utd. Now manager of Italy’s under 18 side.
Fabio Cannavaro: The Italian central defender, like Buffon, would go on and become an Italian legend. Began his career with hometown club Napoli before establishing himself at the Stadio Ennio Tardini. Was sent-off during the first half in Parma’s clash with Rangers. Would leave Parma in a €23m deal to join inter before linking up again with Lilian Thuram and Buffon at Juventus. After the 2006 World Cup, where he captain Italy to the title, Fabio joined Real Madrid and stayed in La Liga for three seasons before a second stint at Juve and then a move to the UAE and play for Al-Ahli. Was seen in Brazil last summer as a world cup pundit for ITV and was recently named new head coach of Chinese side Guangzhou Evergrande, replacing Azzurri World Cup winning coach Marcello Lippi. Has just been sentenced to ten months in jail after being found guilty of breaking into his own swimming pool, but has appealed the verdict.
Lilian Thuram: The French World Cup winning right-back was a superb defender. Strong and resilient player who was never easily beaten. Along with Buffon he left Parma for the mighty Juventus in 2001, where he would win Serie A titles. Then after the Calciopoli scandal in 2006 he left Italy for a transfer to Barcelona. Retired in 2008 after a medical with PSG showed up a heart defect. Can now be seen in the media when something political erupts in French football.
Michele Serena: Yet another Italian journeyman who seemed to collect clubs like cards. As wells as stints at Fiorentina, Sampdoria, Juve and Verona in Italy, Serena also had a year in La Liga with Atletico Madrid. Would retire after three years at the San Siro with Inter Milan. Now a coach in Italy’s lower leagues, currently managing at Venezia.
Alain Boghossian: Another French World Cup winner from that famous Les Bleus side of 98. The defensive midfielder also won the UEFA Cup with Parma. Played for Marseille, Napoli and Sampdoria before his four years with Parma. Departed in 2002 for Espanyol but retired a year later due to persistent injuries. Was an assistant coach to Laurent Blanc with the French national team and is now a ligue 2 tv pundit for Eurosport.
Dino Baggio: Not thee Baggio the ‘other one’ but still a superb player on his day. A holding midfielder whose hard-work found him a way to join Inter, Juve and Lazio as well as his six years at Parma. Would have a pretty disappointing spell at Blackburn in the EPL. Retired officially in 2005. Won sixty caps for Italy.
Johan Walem: The Belgian midfielder scored the only goal of the second leg in Italy. A talented player who suffered with injuries throughout his career. His time in Parma was sandwiched in between spells at Udinese. Made his name before that with Belgian giants Anderlecht. Retired to become a media man and youth coach at Udinese. He is now Belgian’s U21 Head Coach.
Ariel Ortega: Once dubbed the new ‘Maradona’, he could never fulfil those hefty expectations in Europe. In three years he would see out three clubs; Valencia, Sampdoria and Parma. He would fail to fully deliver at any of those sides. Had three decent spells with his home club River Plate, winning the Copa Libertadores in 1996. The 87 time capped Argentine retired in 2012. During his career it was confirmed the maestro suffered from alcoholism.
Marco Di Vaio: Had a highly successful time with Parma after his move there from Salernitana. He would score an impressive 49 strikes in 114 for I Gialloblù. Would then join Juventus before moves to Valencia and Monaco. At Bologna during 2008 and 2012 he would become a club legend with his commitment and valuable goals! Signed for MLS side Montreal Impact, scoring 40 times in his three years in Canada. Retired last summer at the grand age of thirty-eight.
Just to prove the point that these two clubs were huge back in the nineties and early naughties here are more former stars:
Rangers: Graeme Souness, Paul Gascoigne, Brian Laudrup, Richard Gough, Ally McCoist, Frank De Boer, Ronald De Boer, Claudio Caniggia, Dado Prso and Rino Gattuso.
Parma: Gianfranco Zola, Roberto Sensini, Hernan Crespo (played 2nd leg of Gers game), Marcio Amoroso, Juan Veron, Faustino Asprilla, Claudio Taffarel, Enrico Chiesa, Adriano and Hidetoshi Nakata.
To think that these two wonderful clubs can now go out of business and have owners completely mismanage them to the point of oblivion, is scary and sad.
UEFA’s Financial Fair Play system has to stop this from continuing to happen! As do the FA’s involved. Football clubs can’t be seen as play things or businesses that conmen can bleed dry!
Rangers and Parma fans have had enough of the hard times and can only dream about one day getting back into the Champions League and having winners and top class internationals donning their strips again!
Posted on February 28th, 2015 by scott
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